Forty-six-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder for the killings of Deah Barakat, a second-year student in the UNC School of Dentistry and his wife, Yusor, who had planned to begin her dental studies at UNC in the fall. Yusor's sister, Razan, a student at NC State University, was also killed. We will continue to update this story as information becomes available.
Updated Monday, February 23, 10:15 a.m.
AtlantaMuslim.com has created a map of vigils and gatherings related to the shootings and the hashtag #OurThreeWinners
Updated Thursday, February 19 10:30 a.m.
President Obama includes the Chapel Hill shootings in an address at the White House during a summit on violent extremist. Here's a video of the full address:
Updated Thursday, February 19 7:00 a.m.
Much of the discussion about the motive behind the Chapel Hill shooting is whether it was a hate crime. Many in the Muslim community and on social media say it is, but police have not. Jorge Valencia filed this report today about the decision the police face, and the intricacies of a legal hate crime designation.
Updated Monday February 16 5:10 p.m.
A grand jury has indicted Craig Stephen Hicks in the murder of three young Muslims in Chapel Hill, reports Jorge Valencia. Hicks turned himself into authorities last week, just hours after the shooting of Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu Salha and Razan Abu Salha. Now a grand jury believes there's enough evidence to pursue a felony case against Hicks. He's charged with first-degree murder and discharging a firearm into a dwelling. Chapel Hill police are still investigating and say Hicks may have been motivated by a parking dispute. Family and advocates around the world say Hicks was acting out of a bias against Muslims.
Updated Monday February 16 10:50 a.m.
Qatar students and community hold solidarity walk for Chapel Hill victims. The march was Sunday and began at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University.
"Yesterday, the FBI opened an inquiry into the brutal and outrageous murders of Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, Deah Shaddy Barakat, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In addition to the ongoing investigation by local authorities, the FBI is taking steps to determine whether federal laws were violated. No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship. Michelle and I offer our condolences to the victims’ loved ones. As we saw with the overwhelming presence at the funeral of these young Americans, we are all one American family. Whenever anyone is taken from us before their time, we remember how they lived their lives – and the words of one of the victims should inspire the way we live ours."
“Growing up in America has been such a blessing,” Yusor said recently. “It doesn’t matter where you come from. There’s so many different people from so many different places, of different backgrounds and religions – but here, we’re all one.”
Thursday evening, the FBI announced it is looking into the murders. In a statement, the FBI said it has opened a "parallel preliminary inquiry". They're looking to determine if federal laws were violated. Agents will assist local police to process evidence from the triple-homicide.
Update Thursday February 12 2:58 p.m.
Frank Stasio joined Dr. Omid Safi, director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center to talk about the events on the nationally syndicated program, The Takeaway. Listen to the audio here.
"If these acts happen in your community, then they are a part of your community, they are a part of your legacy." - Dr. Omid Safi
"You can't see where the crowd ends" at the vigil to honor the three slain students, reports Jorge Valencia.
Update Wednesday February 11 6:00 p.m.
There is a vigil this evening at 6:30 p.m. at the UNC "Pit." Prior to the vigil, at 6 p.m., a prayer service will be held in the Great Hall of the Carolina Union. Parking will be available in the Bell Tower lot.
Update Wednesday February 11 5:31 p.m.
Nada Salem was best friends with the two young women who died. The 21-year-old Muslim woman told reporter Reema Khrais that she strongly believes the crime was motivated by hate.
Salem points to something that happened a few months ago. She had gone over to the couple's house for dinner.
After she went home, her friend Yusor texted to say that their neighbor, Hicks, had come by, complaining that that young people had been "really loud and disrespectful."
And then, Yusor texted, Hicks "pointed to his gun and his pocket and he said 'I don't want this to happen again.'"
Salem had plans to attend UNC School of Dentistry with Yusor. She says not too long ago the couple gave her her first Carolina Dentistry sweater. The two women wanted to wear the sweaters to school at the same time.
"So that we can be matching and we can tell everyone we got in together; and two days ago she texted me again with [the sweater] picture saying that she can't wait for us to start again…together at dental school," says Salem. "It's like a daze for me, personally, I just don't want to believe it."
Say hello to Hazelnut! She was born mid-morning a couple of days ago into the celebrated Ocracoke pony herd.
Hazelnut's father is a direct descendant of the original Ocracoke ponies. The mother joined the herd in 2010.
The ponies are an important part of the region's history. Legend has it that the “Banker” horses survived being thrown overboard by European ships carrying livestock to the New World in the 16th or 17th century.
Late last year, NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concert announced a contest. "NPR Music wants you to play a concert in our office," read the invitation. "Adele, John Legend, Wilco and T-Pain have played in our Tiny Desk Concert series. You could be next."
To enter, a musician must record an original song behind a desk.
Wilmington, North Carolina-based band The Midatlantic performed their entry behind a desk in an imaginative location. They were aboard a boat on the Cape Fear River:
Having lived in San Francisco, Wagner knew what to do when an earthquake hit. Still, she was shocked when the earth underneath her began shaking. "I was standing in the doorway when the house collapsed," she recalls. "I was very surprised that this was how I was going to die."
Wagner says she was trapped under the rubble for two to three hours. She survived after being rescued by friends and neighbors, but not unscathed. "My left arm was crushed," she says. "I couldn't walk very far very quickly."
This week marks the 75th anniversary of Cameron Indoor Stadium, home to Duke University Basketball. In that time, the Blue Devils have won 4 national championships, and made 38 NCAA Tournament appearances. But the building itself has as much history as the teams that have passed through it.
At its founding, the stadium was the largest south of Philadelphia. It flaunted some of the most modern conveniences of any venue.
It's impossible to listen to the radio every minute 24 hours a day. Even the biggest WUNC fan is bound to miss something. So here, in no particular order, are some of our favorite stories from 2014 that you might have missed.
UNC can cap off a turbulent season with a bowl victory in Detroit. The Tar Heels will take on Rutgers in the Quick Lane Bowl after going 6-6 in the regular season. Head Coach Larry Fedora says the opportunity is as much about 2015 as it is about those seniors who are leaving.
"Just like getting extra practices for Spring Ball," said Fedora. "We're trying to get as many reps with those guys who are going to be with us and we feel like can help us in the future."
Many local and national musicians come through the North Carolina Public Radio studios each year and 2014 is no exception. As radio reporters and hosts, we have the chance to book bands we love and ask them anything. Eric Hodge regularly does just that.
And so we asked Hodge, of all the interviews you conducted this year, which five should we not miss? Here are his choices, in no particular order:
Sylvan Esso: Durham-based duo Sylvan Esso's latest album is full of catchy tracks, ripe for getting stuck in your head.
Clemon H. Terrell enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1950 as a steward. He would make the officers' beds and shine their shoes, among other duties. Due to segregation, there were limited opportunities for advancement. This week, 34 years following his retirement from the service, Terrell was promoted to honorary Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer.
"I was ecstatic. Being promoted to Chief Petty Officer is a prestigious promotion," he said, adding that the the Chief Petty Officer has the respect of everyone "from the Admiral on down."
In a letter addressed to euthanasia technicians and registered animal shelters in the state, the N.C. Department of Agriculture says the use of gas chambers for euthanizing cats and dogs is no longer acceptable.
The letter comes from Dr. Patricia Norris, the new director of the Animal Welfare Section at the Department.
"We're basically clarifying the policy for everybody," said Norris.
Multiple outlets are reporting Triangle doctor Michael J. Rosenberg is among the six victims of a plane crash in Maryland on Monday.
The plane was registered to Sage Aviation, of Chapel Hill, which is owned by Rosenberg. Rosenberg is the CEO of Health Decisions, a pharmaceutical company in Durham. Triangle Business Journal named him a 2013 Health Care Hero:
Construction of the 7,000+ acre development that plans to greatly expand the size and population of Pittsboro began this week with a UNC Health Care facility.
Developers announced the groundbreaking Tuesday. The 25,000 square-foot medical plaza is the first building to go up in Chatham Park. While UNC hasn't said what services the building will provide specifically, it's expected to house specialists.
It's a touchy debate, consisting of rather loaded language. But, surprisingly, there may be a consensus somewhere in the underbrush.
Earlier this month, the Southern Environmental Law Center put out a release saying new plans to open 700,000 acres of Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests up for timber operations were a dramatic shift in policy:
New modeling from Vanderbilt and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill gives a 3-D breakdown of how a hummingbird's wings work. The method by which the birds move has eluded scientists for some time. But new video imaging shows the airflow the birds create which allows their agility.
Leaders of North Carolina’s NAACP are expressing their disappointment in the decision to not indict Ferguson, Missouri white officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of black 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Reverend William Barber spoke at a press conference in Durham this morning. He said that the decision to not indict Wilson is an indictment of the system itself.
“And we're plagued with it here. It's an indictment, right here, on the system in North Carolina. Racial profiling is real in this state,” he said.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year. 1.3 million North Carolinians are expected to be traveling to visit friends and family this year, 90 percent of whom will be on the road (according to AAA of the Carolinas). That said, here's some essential public radio podcast listening you can take with you on the road, for those moments of stop-and-go.
The developers of the 7,000 acre Chatham Park project have submitted a rezoning request to the town of Pittsboro, NC. Months after the initial zoning approval, the developers have acquired a few tracts of land that add up to about 45 news acres.
According to Tim Smith of Preston Development, every time they add new land to the project, the whole lot will need to go through a rezoning process. He says this does not put the project on hold, because it can continue to operate under the old zoning until the zoning is confirmed.
G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) will be the next leader of the Congressional Black Caucus. Butterfield, who represents much of Eastern North Carolina, was unanimously elected on Wednesday by the 45 member group.
“I’m moved by the unwavering support the CBC has shown me throughout the years,” said Butterfield in a release. He is the caucus's most recent Vice-Chair.
Rapper J. Cole grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina. This week, with very little fanfare, he announced that his new album would go on sale December 9. The album is called "2014 Forest Hills Drive." The title refers to Cole's childhood home in Fayetteville.
The announcement came with a short documentary of the musician, wearing a sky-blue UNC jersey, re-visiting many of the places of his childhood.
There's the roller rink, and the game arcade, and the football field where he rapped publicly for the very first time:
Residents of the Piedmont will experience a bitter cold snap Tuesday morning. A strong front passing through the state Monday evening will lead to temperatures only reaching as high as the 30s Tuesday.
National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Sharp says the chilly weather will stretch into Tuesday night.
Sharp predicts it will be very cold Tuesday night with lows near 20, upper teens in more outlying areas.
Then on Wednesday we will start what Sharp calls a moderating trend, with temperatures still well below normal for this time of year.
Wonder what that proposed 17-mile light rail project that would connect Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina would look like? Take a look at the latest model. It's made using Google Earth's virtual tour capabilities and other 3D software:
Project planners will have an environmental impact statement ready for public review in early 2015. The project is set to be constructed between 2020 and 2026 depending on approvals and funding.